This morning, I first visited Glasgow Necropolis to obtain information for my separate GlasgowAncestry blog. I always this burial ground a fascinating place whose memorial stones provide a fascinating insight in to Victorian Glasgow which at the time was powering ahead and aspired to status of second city of the (British) Empire. It is mainly the wealthy elite who could afford memorials and they record a wide range of business activities from cotton manufacturer to railway contractor to merchant (seemingly a catch all term for businessman) to traders with the West Indies-plus many more categories.

After the Necropolis I journeyed over to the West End to fulfil a long-standing ambition to tour Glasgow University, one of Scotland’s oldest and most prestigious universities. Tours are provided every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. As no one else turned up I had benefit of a private tour albeit shortened because some of the main buildings were in use for various functions. However, I did obtain a good overview of the site.

Glasgow University had its origins in a Papal Bull issued in 1451 at which time the University was established in the (then Roman Catholic) Cathedral. It seems strange to me that some 900 years after collapse of the Roman Empire it was order from Rome that established an educational establishment in Scotland.

The University prospered and moved to premises in the High Street which in time became unsuitable and triggered a relocation to the current purpose built site on Gilmore Hill around 1860. The buildings were designed in neo Gothic style by English architect, Gilbert Scott who, unfortunately, died just prior to completion. (This was the same Gilbert Scott who designed the iconic British red telephone box which is still in service today.)

The University celebrated its quincentennial anniversary in 1951.

This image just part of the impressive iron gates at the Gilmore Street entrance. The design incorporates names of famous alumni which includes the famous economist Adam Smith.

This is the front of the building facing Kelvingrove. The entrance is medieval and was transferred from the former High Street site.

The following two images plus this video clip show the inner courtyard including the 1929 Remembrance Chapel.


Another transfer from the old site in the High Street. This is the Lion and Unicorn stairs which date from 1690.

Here is a closer view of the two beasts, which appear to have weathered well despite Glasgow’s climate.
This was a useful tour. It seems that visitors are free to wander round the main areas without prior arrangement or restriction. I will have to return in the summer because the site is elevated and offers good views of Glasgow (for photographs).

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